- Cooking

Tuscany on a Staycation Plate

Our foodie thoughts today reflect the colours and flavours of Italy, simply prepared and deliciously plated to enjoy at home. Tuscan cuisine is much like its landscape – clean, sober and soothingly simple, with occasional bursts of spectacular. We can’t do the scenery, but we can still enjoy the food.


White Bean Soup


Ribollita’ is a hearty Tuscan white bean soup with kale. It’s packed with freshness and makes an amazing healthy lunch.

You can mix up the vegetables to your taste, or to use whatever you have in the fridge. It’s a rustic dish – you’re in Tuscany after all (virtually) – so roughly dice an onion, carrot, fennel bulb and a couple of sticks of celery.

Soften the onion in oil for 3 minutes before adding the remaining vegetables, 2 tbsp of Chilli Jam, 1 tbsp of our warming Creamed Horseradish and 2 grated garlic cloves. If you feel the need, you can add meat in the form of chopped pancetta or bacon at this stage.

Cook the combination through for 10 minutes before adding 3 medium sized sliced tomatoes, a good shake of Bloody Mary Ketchup and lots of beautiful kale (rip the curly leaves off the woody stalks).

Cook this through for 5 minutes before adding a glass of white wine and 800ml of vegetable stock. Simmer for 10 minutes and season to taste before adding 1 can of rinsed cannellini beans and 1 can of rinsed butter beans.

If the soup is too thick, add more stock then simmer gently for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat but let the soup site for 10 minutes before serving with a topcoat of Parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon.

Tomato, Mozzarella & Crouton Salad


‘Panzanella Croccante’ is a regional classic, delightfully colourful and refreshingly simple.

The salad is basically an Italian tricolor of juicy red tomatoes, green herbs (basil and parsley – a little fresh mint is good too) and white torn mozzarella or little mozzarella balls (you find these in the deli isles).

Slice red onion into the mix and anything else you think might work – tinned tuna, capers and olives make a tasty variation on a theme.

What makes it ‘croccante‘ – crunchy – is the stale bread (ideally ciabatta). Tear the bread into small mouth size chunks, drizzle with lots of olive oil and a good sprinkle of dried mixed Italian herbs. Spread this onto a baking sheet and into a hot oven for 10 minutes until the bread is crisp and golden.

Whisk 3 or 4 tbsp of our Mango & Orange Dressing , 4 tbsp of olive oil and 2 or 3 tsp of our Classic English Mustard together with a pinch of flaky sea salt to make a dressing and drizzle this over the salad before adding the crispy bread.

Texture, taste and colour –delicious.

Tuscan Salmon


Proving that the simplest ideas make the tastiest plates. Great ingredients – Italian tomatoes; great ideas – add a shot of vodka and Bloody Mary spices; great food – Stokes Bloody Mary Ketchup.

Pop your salmon steaks under the grill for just 2 minutes each side then set them aside. They will finish cooking in the sauce shortly.

Put a really good knob of butter in the pan with 3 grated garlic cloves and a dozen or so halved cherry tomatoes. When they start to blister, add 2 handfuls of torn or sliced baby spinach.

As this wilts, add a splash of white wine, 250ml of cream, 4 or 5 tbsp of our Bloody Mary Ketchup and grated Parmesan cheese.

As this begins to simmer, add the salmon to cook through for 5 minutes or so, then serve with seasonal new potatoes on the side.

Tomato & Aubergine Bake


‘Melanzane alla Parmigiana’ is a true classic.

Pre-heat the oven to 190C / Gas Mark 5.  Wash 2 or 3 aubergines and slice them into roughly 1cm discs. Grease a baking sheet, lay the discs out on it and drizzle with oil. Pop the sheet into the oven for 10 minutes or so to soften the aubergine, then out of the oven to cool.

Slice 8 medium tomatoes, put them in a bowl and stir in 3 grated garlic cloves, 3 tbsp of Mango & Orange Dressing, 5 good glugs of our thick, award-winning Tomato Ketchup and 1 tsp of dried oregano.

In an oven dish layer aubergine first, then tomato, grated Parmesan cheese and a dusting of breadcrumbs. Repeat and ideally add a third layer finishing with extra Parmesan and breadcrumbs.

Drizzle with oil and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the fruit melts together below a blanket of bubbling brown cheese.

This is a wonderful starter or lunch, served with toasted slices of crunchy ciabatta bread.

Ordered, Delivered, Enjoyed



Enjoy the Taste of Stokes

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